A time of prayer at a Christian outreach event Saturday at Dodger Stadium will likely be the largest gathering in the nation to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the United States, said evangelist Greg Laurie. Harvest Los Angeles will unite citizens in prayer to mark the tragic events.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decision to exclude any prayers from clergy at ground zero in Sunday’s official ceremony has been met with criticism from many Christian leaders, including Laurie.
Laurie, the pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., and known for leading large-scale evangelistic events worldwide for the last 21 years, made it clear in a statement sent to The Christian Post that prayer continues to be part of the nation’s fabric, even 10 years after the tragedy.
“The LA Harvest will likely be the single largest gathering in the country where Christians will commemorate this solemn event with prayer,” Laurie stated. “There has been a lot controversy over the fact that there are no clergymen or prayer(s) planned for the official remembrance ceremony at Ground Zero on 9/11. I believe that is wrong, since faith has played such a key role in America in the aftermath of this horrific tragedy.”
The event will include a virtual candlelight vigil, an invitation to come onto the field and accept Jesus Christ and a prayer in commemoration of 9/11.
“We remember prayer vigils on street corners and the members of Congress breaking into ‘God Bless America’ on the Capitol steps. Churches were filled to overflowing after 9/11 as people looked for answers from God and the Bible,” Laurie said.
“So, despite the fact that there will be no prayer at ground zero in NYC, know that there will be prayer in LA at Dodger stadium this Saturday as thousands of us remember the victims and heroes of 9/11,” he added.
The Harvest event is being hosted by more than 340 churches throughout Los Angeles County and surrounding area, organizers said. About 4,000 volunteers are being used to stage the event, which is being held for the first time in Los Angeles.
“I look forward to bringing a message of hope to one of the most significant and influential cities in all of the world,” Laurie told CP.
“As we have seen the tragic images of 9/11 played and replayed, it’s a bit like reliving it all over again,” he said. “The question that comes to mind for many is ‘Why?’ Why does God allow tragedies like this to happen, and for that matter, ‘why is there so much suffering in the world?’”
“That is not an easy question to answer, but I will deal with that and more in a hopeful message this Saturday at Dodger stadium,” Laurie said.
In addition to Laurie’s message, the outreach will feature music from well-known Christian musicians. Scheduled to perform and lead in worship music are Chris Tomlin, Kirk Franklin, Jeremy Camp and The Katinas.
Laurie also plans to interview Louis Zamperini, a World War II prisoner of war survivor and former American Olympic long-distance runner (Berlin in 1936). Zamperini was also interviewed by Laurie during the last evening of the Harvest in Anaheim, Calif., a three-day event in August.
Saturday’s Harvest outreach will be broadcast live on the internet at www.harvest.org. "Behind the scenes" updates from Greg Laurie will be posted on his blog at blog.greglaurie.com, as well as on Twitter at twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook at facebook.com/harvest.greglaurie.
More than 4.2 million people have attended Laurie’s Harvest events, organizers said. In addition to being the lead pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship, Laurie serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.